Review: Last Night in Montreal



I love this book. I LOVE THIS BOOK.

Yep, this is going to be one of those reviews. I’ve been intrigued by Station Eleven ever since all the buzz about it began, to the point that I wanted to read it so badly I almost broke that book-buying ban in January. I didn’t, I was very well-behaved and I bought it in February instead. I haven’t read it yet though, because you know, TOO MANY BOOKS and so Station Eleven is sitting pretty on my TBR and whispering to me about how between it’s pages lies a world of apocalypse and Shakespeare and making me want to read it so badly and I am getting waaaaay off the point here, because that’s a thing I do, apparently. What I am trying to say is that my wanting to read Station Eleven means that Emily St. John Mandel has been well and truly on my radar for a while and after reading Last Night in Montreal over the weekend she’s well and truly going to stay there.

Last Night in Montreal was Emily’s debut novel, it was published for the first time in the UK this month and I was lucky enough to receive a copy from the publisher for review. My review, in a nutshell, is that I loved this book.

You know I’ve got more to say than that though: all the words, I like to use them. So, sit down, pour a glass of wine (as long as you’re over 18, encouraging underage drinking is totally not my thing) and let me talk at you about Last Night in Montreal

Last Night in Montreal is a little bit like magic. It’s all about dark secrets and half remembered memories and lost languages and it’s just so fascinating and beautiful. The narrative is kind of broken, and the whole things jumps from here to there, from this to that and it’s all kind of disjointed but at the same time every seemingly lose thread ties cleverly and neatly into another. It’s really really really well-written, it’s that kind of evocative writing that I live for, where a sentence can hit you smack in the chest and make you gasp and the details are so well drawn that you can smell the cigarettes in a smoky bar, that you shiver in the cold Montreal air, that you feel the pain of not-knowing deep in your soul. It’s poetic, that’s what it is, it’s writing that’s like poetry. It’s like crime fiction, a thriller, but not at all in the way you’d expect; it’s not a mystery but it still kind of is and it’s not a love story but fuck it made my heart hurt and it takes the ‘it’s not about you’ cliché and it throws it back in your face. Maybe its not about me, but I’m still affected, I’m still hurting and then on the other side of the coin why does matter how I hurt because it’s not about me. This novel explores all of that, I think. I’m not making much sense; I know what I want to say but  I’m not sufficiently caffeinated today and it’s all getting lost in amongst the whole I LOVED THIS BOOK thing. All I know is that I think that at its core, that’s what this book is about – that the people you love can hurt you, they can and they will, but it’s about what you choose to do after the fact that matters, how you move forward. 
Last Night in Montreal is something different, which I am always going to be all over. I keep reading about how there’s only so many different stories out there and so when I find somebody who tells one of those stories in a new and unique way I kind of want to yell about it. That’s what I’m doing right now okay, I’m yelling at you to read this book, dammit. The writing is so masterful and so clever, and the way it’s structured, the way it unfolds endlessly intriguing. I couldn’t stop reading, I couldn’t stop reading and I couldn’t stop feeling. And then there’s the whole language parallel, all the stuff about lost languages and forgotten languages and dead languages was properly fascinating and so neatly entwined with the story that it makes me want to fist pump. I love that stuff.



And I know, that's totally a gratuitous picture of Roger Federer which I have totally included because of the fist pump but whatever. Does one really need a reason to share a picture of that tennis playing face? I think not. The point is, I just really think you probably ought to read this book. Okay? Okay.

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